I entered an online competition the other day and one of the requirements was to say what you couldn't live without during the baby stage. It got me thinking about what essentials you really do need when you have a baby. When you are preparing for your first, it's so exciting to go out and shop for baby goods. Cot. Change table. Pram. Bath. Swing. Rocker. I could go on. There's so many things you can buy for your baby and of course you're convinced that each of these things are essential to have for your baby (or so everyone tells you anyway *sigh*) We've been there and done that. We didn't go as far as to get the matching sheets/curtains/mobile/wallpaper but we did buy a lot of 'stuff'!
So, after having three kids and now having to find places for all the items we bought and didn't need, I've come up with a list of the only three baby items you'll ever need (bearing in mind that a carseat is non optional ;))
Boobs. Yep. Not only do they provide food for your baby (and the best kind of food for your baby, I might add), they also provide a source of comfort for your baby, a means of calming them, a way of getting them to sleep and a beautiful bonding experience for both you and your baby. And the benefits even continue as they grow older, I've used them to calm tantrums, to settle a tired child, to heal bumps and bruises, to rehydrate a sick child and to cool a fever. The list goes on! The best thing about boobs though is that they are free (find out how much formula costs here)
Sling. It has to be a decent one though. I love the Hug-a-Bub or a simple wrap type of carrier from birth to 6 months. It holds my baby securely against me and is so comfortable for me as well. I wouldn't be anywhere without my sling. Two of my kids have hated the pram (and by the time I got to #3 I'd given up entirely on the pram!) There's also no time to try and settle #3 in his own bed, it's much easier and less stress if I settle him in the sling. And of course there are so many awesome benefits of holding your baby close.
Cloth Nappies. I've developed a bit of a cloth nappy hoarding habit lately. We didn't always use cloth nappies though. Up until Jacob was 12 months old we used disposables but after hearing from friends about how awesome modern cloth nappies were we were hooked. Now I'm just astounded at how much money families are likely to spend on disposables I love modern cloth nappies (and probably have far too many of them!) but seriously, you don't even need those. A heap of terry towel nappies and some covers, some flannels for wipes and you're set! Easy. And cheap. Of course, we also combine our cloth nappying with Elimination Communication which makes it even cheaper but I don't make the assumption that EC will be everyone's cup of tea ;)
As for the rest of our well-intended baby items, I can tell you what has happened to them...
The cot: Currently used as a storage space for other unused junk. Gideon sleeps in bed with us. Preferably on our chest.
The change table: Sits unused in our room (although I have to admit it is useful for storing baby stuff under!) We generally change Gideon on the floor downstairs - too much effort walking up those stairs!
The bath and stand: Sits unused in our (unused) shower. Gideon has his bath with the other kids (when we get around to actually giving him a bath that is!) or in the shower with us.
The pram: Sits unused in our garage. It was in the boot of the car until we decided it was just taking up space!
Play arch: Currently stored in the cot. It's pointless getting it out anyway because the baby doesn't get a chance to use it due to the older kids playing with it (what is it with older kids suddenly wanting to play with baby toys again?!)
I'm sure I could think of many other things we have bought and haven't used too!
What's something you've bought for your baby and haven't used?